Spontanscran

Given that we’ve been pairing food and beer for hundreds, if not thousands, of years it’s extremely challenging to come up with a new take on the topic. I first met Ben and Sashana shortly after they opened Edinburgh Food Studio, while I was still at The Hanging Bat, to discuss a really wacky idea I’d had for a beer dinner. The idea ended up being a bit too wacky to properly pull off (although it’s still on the back burner), but we had some really interesting discussions on the topic. I continued to follow them and was always fascinated by the events and produce I’d see coming out of their kitchen.

In my new guise in a sales role for beer importer James Clay, I’m constantly trying to build events and work with our products in novel ways. I’m completely transfixed by the lambic and ‘sour’ beer category, and have recently been doing research into the way developments and flavours in this scene are being mirrored in the fermented food movement. With Ben and Sashana’s rich collective experience, and the EFS motto “Keep Food Interesting” it made perfect sense to approach them to host a dinner looking at how ‘sour’ beer and food can work together. After some initial discussions they invited their friend and previous collaborator Craig Grozier of Fallachan Dining to get involved and share the experience. Continue reading

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Defending My Right To Breathe Clean Air At Work

This piece was featured on The BeerCast, below is just a snippet.

As part of my job as a bartender I pride myself on going above and beyond whatever the customer asks of me in the name of good service, all I ask for in return is good etiquette. This request is honoured almost every time, with the exception of a few forgotten Ps and Qs, allowing me to enjoy my job and my guests to enjoy their time in the bar. However, within the past year a new threat to this harmonious balance has appeared: a neon blue glue appears at the corner of a customer’s mouth, partnered seconds later by a white plume which is then followed by an acrid aroma, peculiar and unwelcome, that lingers in the air for minutes. Continue reading

What is ‘Craft Beer’?

Another installment in my series for This Greedy Pig.

What is Craft beer?

A craft is defined as ‘a pastime or profession that requires some particular kind of skilled work’ and is ‘usually applied to products produced on a small scale’. Although brewing is without doubt a kind of skilled work ‘craft beer’ is a term that seems to elude precise definition. Growth in sales of craft beer over the past few years have been enormous and it is the current trending niche amongst operators. However this massive growth has attracted big companies looking to cash in on the craft brand, leading to a dilution in its definition. There isn’t a real straightforward answer to what craft beer is. But I believe there are minimum criteria that must be met to genuinely be considered craft.

Actually Making The Beer

This one seems to be patently obvious, surely to sell a craft beer you actually have to make it yourself? Yet some people fall at this first tiny hurdle along the path to being craft. Marketing company Innis and Gunn are launching a new range of products early this year and are not shy about jumping on the craft bandwagon.

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Scottish Real Ale Festival – Opinion Piece

This is a brief OPINION piece I wrote in reaction to my visit to the CAMRA Scottish Real Ale Festival yesterday.

Picture the scene, a huge gathering of the best drinkers, drinking the best beers, brewed by the best breweries, in a country endowed with an incredible brewing scene. All of these passionate people under one roof, tittering at Tennent’s drinkers, hating Heineken fanboys, and frowning upon Foster’s fanatics. Continue reading